REVIEW: Sicario (2015)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate – ‘Sicario’

The following is a review of ‘Sicario’, a Denis Villeneuve film.

I had a lot of expectations going into the theater to watch Sicario. The spectacular cast isn’t the only thing you should be excited about. Denis Villeneuve, the director, is one of the hottest new directors in the world. His last three films (Prisoners; Enemy; Incendies) have been some of my favorites in the years that they’ve been released, and Villeneuve is directing the hotly-anticipated Blade Runner sequel soon. In short, I expected Sicario to be one of the best films this year – I was not disappointed.

Sicario is an excellent film centered on the cynical underbelly of the U.S.-Mexican border. It follows Kate Macer (played by Emily Blunt), a member of an FBI SWAT team, who becomes entangled in a CIA operation concerning a drug cartel. But Macer becomes awfully suspicious of the operation when Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a CIA officer, and his partner Alejandro Gillick (played by Benicio del Toro) refuse to disclose the details of the operation.

Let’s just start praising this film. Emily Blunt is perfect as Kate Macer. Her character doesn’t fit into the world she has been thrown into. Everything has to be by the book and out in the open for Kate, and Blunt does a great job of balancing the idealistic nature of the character with her humanity. Honestly, though, she does not deliver the best performance in the film. In fact, Benicio del Toro is the one that will impress you the most. This is his best performance in years.

This film is incredibly focused on the idea of crossing a border or boundary, stressed with the point that you can step out of line. In Sicario you are at first led to believe that everything will be all right. That you can solve and deal with the worst problems. But that view is challenged time and time again in the film, and ultimately you are left with the feeling that the world can be outright cynical and cruel.

Sicario is a dark and ominous film. This is yet another brilliant project made reality by Denis Villeneuve and the legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins. Sicario will leave you frightened of horrors that feel absolutely real, but also amazed at just how well put together it is.

All in all, this is an incredible film – full of not just excellent performances, but also masterful work behind the camera. I must admit that while I absolutely enjoyed this film, you could argue that the first act was a bit too slow. However, I thought that the build-up was magnificent in this film.

One should also commend the excellent sound-work. The top-notch sound-mixing helps to underline just how shocking this film can be. So, while Roger Deakins and Denis Villeneuve should be praised, don’t forget to acknowledge the work done by William Sarokin, Alan Robert Murray, and the rest of the sound department.

Final Score: 9 out of 10Sicario is a cynical and stunning film.

I’m Jeffrey Rex